The Intersection

posted by Sheril R. Kirshenbaum

Jerry Lewis is a Congressman representing the 41st District of California.
Jerry Lewis is also a comedian from Newark, New Jersey.

i-4cb8d77a2ba5365ce199dab0fcaaadd7-The_Day_After_Tomorrow_movie.jpgI imagine it’s confusing to share a name with someone famous. Even more unusual is the case of the Jerry Lewises because both fellows have independently and collectively made names for themselves.

Well it turns out the Congressman has quite a sense of humor – arguably rivaling that of the comedian. As former chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, he had this to say regarding a substantial spending boost for NOAA’s oceans and climate programs:

“It’s amazing how little we know about the science of our environment and a thing called climate change. Before we automatically throw money into this subject matter we ought to know what we’re talking about. Global warming is apparently a problem, but global cooling can be as well.”

I can’t help but wonder if the Congressman is also fan of Dennis Quaid films. It appears he is suggesting that because we don’t know about something, we should fight the research funding bill. While the funny man may have mastered slapstick, Congressman Jerry Lewis nails absurd paradox.

As for me, I’m with Senator Mikulski (D-Md) who acknowledged NOAA is “undervalued, underappreciated, and underfunded.” We both think it’s time to change that. For until we understand the nuances of global cooling theory, I’m encouraged this agency is receiving the resources it desperately needs.


  1. The human capacity to just not get it can be truly astounding at times. Like the folks at The Daily Show, I try to laugh once in a while to avoid the crying…

    Thanks for your ongoing effort to encourage more people to see.

  2. #2 Peggy
    June 13, 2007

    What’s truly sad is that in last fall’s election the Democrat running against him did almost no campaigning. Despite the fact that he’s under investigation by the Feds, Lewis was basically untouchable, in no little part because his position on the House Appropriations Committee produced a local shower of money. Every so often I write a letter as a concerned constituent, but I’m pretty sure they just end up in the round file.

  3. #3 Ted
    June 13, 2007

    You linked to the wikipedia entry for “science portrayed in the movie”, but just as interesting was the “politics portrayed in the movie.”

    Like we’d ask permission to be refugees in Mexico and other third world countries after spending $700B a year on “defense”. That’s the real fantasy.

  4. #4 Sheril Kirshenbaum
    June 13, 2007

    Richard Harris of NPR provides a good synopsis of the questionable science behind the movie here. I agree with his conclusion “The movie’s plot is entirely predictable. The climate is not.”

  5. #5 Ted
    June 13, 2007

    The problem with making the “science of it” interesting enough for a global audience just isn’t very feasible. It’s like asking people to get really worked up over watching paint dry. People with day jobs don’t want to wonk.

    I don’t think it claimed to be a documentary. If anything, I thought it was presented as science-fiction the way “The Omega Man” or “Planet of the Apes” was although with B-stars. (If only they got Charleston Heston instead of Dennis Quaid it would have been an instant classic.)

    One question relative to the movie is this: As a public policy initiative, do you need to make it pursuasive to Joe Ordinary, or do you need to focus on the policy makers?

    I live in this alternate reality where Joe Ordinary doesn’t really wield that much political power unless he’s induced into a violence prone emotional frenzy… To me, the only people making a logical decision on climate change are the lobbyists because they know both sides of the story and as hired guns are using calculated intellect to rake in the cash. And later they’ll use that cash to buy up land and McMansions in Alaska, Antartica, or the tropics — whatever the climate change makes into the next temperate zone.

  6. #6 Blair Trewin
    June 13, 2007

    Actually, I thought the most unrealistic thing portrayed in the movie was that it depicted an actual working climate scientist addressing a UN climate conference.

  7. #7 Emily
    June 14, 2007

    Don’t forget Jerry Lee Lewis, who gave us Great Balls of Fire and who blazed the way for today’s entertainment scandals!

  8. #8 Norman Doering
    June 14, 2007

    Like we’d ask permission to be refugees in Mexico and other third world countries after spending $700B a year on “defense”. That’s the real fantasy.

    So? WMD in Iraq and being greeted as liberators were fantasy too — doesn’t mean our politicians won’t say it on TV, which is all you really saw in the film — a political speech on TV.